Positive affirmations that could really make a difference

A beautiful post by Nimue reminding us that a lasting sense of worth and value are found in living by and for and with each other. The world is starving for a message like this.

Druid Life

Positive affirmation has come to mean little mantras and memes we repeat to ourselves to help us feel better about things. I tend to find them hollow and unhelpful. It’s worth repeating a thought form when I am trying to change myself – it is ok to rest- for example. Too often what we ask positive affirmations to do is replace what isn’t otherwise coming to us. The universe loves me. I am valued. I am good and my life is worthwhile.

I think about the people (I’ve been one of them) who in times of stress apologise for existing. We’re sorry that we take up space and carbon, that we breathe and eat. To feel this way, I have realised, you have to be convinced that you are not entitled to exist. We don’t get there on our own and we don’t get out of it on our own…

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6 thoughts on “Positive affirmations that could really make a difference

    1. That’s true, Ali, and it’s incredibly sad. Most of the time, I’m one of those people. I keep trying to work on it, but it’s so easy to feel inadequate and undeserving. Something that has recently really helped me was joining a physical world group which meets in person and has the dedicated purpose of helping each other learn how to authentically relate to one another. Being seen without judgment in contexts with physical people, particularly when I don’t know them very well, is turning out to be incalculably healing. It’s like I’ve been malnourished for that, and had started to wonder if what I needed could actually grow here, and finding out that it can, among people in person, people I haven’t had time to develop long-term friendships with even, is just incredible.

      1. I think there should be more groups like that Éilis. I’m glad it’s helping you. Xxx

  1. I’m not convinced that people are any more selfish, heartless and self-absorbed than they ever were. I think there are simply more distractions, more futilities to get involved in. We are richer, have more time for ourselves, more gadgets and we live life at a faster pace. We are more and more distanced from the primary sources of life and care less and less about what happens outside our industrialized production methods of everything. But I’ll bet if you were to give a bunch of ancient people the same possibilities they’d behave in the same crass way we behave.

    1. I completely agree, Jane. It’s extremely likely that ancient people, given all the opportunities and civilization progressions we have had, would end up just as disconnected and self-centered as we are now. The evidence is first and formost that this is exactly what has happened. Our current generations and our current actions are results of this. Would we wish to do it differently? Absolutely. But the yearning and passion for that is informed by the vision of hindsight, and foresight–projecting consequences into the far out future from where each past generation stood at the time–tends to elude even the wise.

      I also don’t know if the argument here is that we are more selfish than ever before. What I took away was that the very individuated response which certain spiritual paths give to the problem of self-hatred is hollow and inappropriate for many. I related to that point of view: certainly I have attempted positive affirmations for years, trying to convince myself of things I didn’t ultimately believe by repeating them over and over. It didn’t work, and still doesn’t for me. That seems to miss the point and become myopic. If a tree isn’t thriving, is that a personal problem for the tree that can be resolved, theoretically, by affirmations of the tree’s sacredness to itself? Hardly, pretending for the sake of argument that a tree could do this for itself, it would miss the point; say the tree isn’t thriving because of deforestation, polution, and so on. That’s not the tree’s “personal” problem, it’s all of our problem. So that is the case with us. Lack of self-worth, detached disconnectedness, isolation, loneliness, industrial displacement, apathy toward the environment; these are related issues and have to be resolved in a way that involves collaborative solutions and re-connection. When we affirm one another, start to accept ourselves and others for who we are, when we truly see others rather than commodifying or objectifying or ignoring them, when we give ourselves permission to be compassionate and when we recognize the complex web of responsibility for the current situation we and the world is in, change can start to occur. Otherwise, if we are just fixated on what do I want, how do I manifest it, hoping we’ll change if only we convince ourselves like impressionable children that our thoughts and feelings are not as they presently are in desperation for them to be different, insist your reality and my reality are ultimately separate and individually created and only ours to construct or break or mend as we see fit, we’ll stay miserable and isolated and alone; and we will only continue to act out our despair and anger on others and our environment when all along the key to rearrange our vision to see our intrinsic connectedness has always been here.

      1. I see what you mean, and I can relate to it. What I can’t see though is how what I feel can change anything except the way I feel about myself. I have a very simple philosophy that I try to apply to every human interaction. I don’t look at any big pictures, try not to have any prejudices, and hone down my reactions to focus very minutely on that one person, what they are saying, and how they are feeling. It means bringing every human being into very sharp focus, stripping away what they look like, their background and situation. Some people wear a permanent mask and there’s no getting behind it. Others don’t. I form an opinion, an affection or an antipathy based on what I find.
        That makes me feel like a reasonable human being, and it seems to me that if everybody opened up and took the time to really look at their fellow human beings there would be fewer disputes and more consensual behaviour. But that’s an individual approach, not a spiritual path. Ultimately you want change for the better, and that means politics and pressure, not spirituality. There’ll always be the rotten apples, the politicians, the movers and shakers who don’t enter into any dance but their own. India is full of spiritual leaders, gurus and what have you, and it’s also full of corruption, inequality, suffering and pain. I don’t have much faith in exhortations to ‘be a better person’. I believe in laws to make people better despite themselves.

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